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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 7, 2010 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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bounce between being a delegate and a trustee in your professional career? >> i've got to be real careful here because i didn't so much stuck with the washington senators that i know there's a political scientist in the room. i served in congress for 16 years, and never heard delegate trustee until after i left congress. as i said earlier, using the delegate part, what you have to do and what weighs on you all the time, and should weigh on you, is that you are a representative of a particular community. that's what's different about our constitution and the british way of doing it. there to represent a particular constituency. and i think you have to take that. . .
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i found often that my constituents, who are busy living their hone lives, doing the best they can for their families and their careers, didn't have all the information that was available to me or to other members of congress or to the president and some of what
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they got, they were getting from really deep intellectual sources like wikipedia or rush limbaugh or keith olberman. you have to, on important matters, sometimes you have to say, i listened to my constituents, i took them seriously, they're just wrong and one of the great books "profiles in courage," was it was about members of the senate who they did what they thought was right and important for the country, even though it was something their constituents, you know, did not agree with, so the way i balanced it was on issues where i didn't really feel my constituency was wrong. you know, i followed their lead. i did what they wanted. i represented them, but if it was something important to me and i thought they were wrong, i did what i thought was right. >> thank you.
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>> it's wonderful to have you here today. >> thank you. glad to be back. >> yesterday, patrick griffin was here speaking to us about the relationship between the legislature and the president in regards to policy making. my question is, do you believe that there's a point, especially when the president's party is in majority, where the legislature should defer to the president's agenda at the expense of their own and what is that point? >> there is no such point. you never defer to the president. you took an oath of office. i will say, you don't defer to the president because he's the president. there is one area in which i deferred sometimes, and that was national security. it's not because the president is in charge of national security, he's not. it's not because the president is in charge of foreign policy. he's not. you know, art well 1, section 1 -- article 1, section 1 of the
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constitution, the congress has a role in hall those things. on the war powers act, we gave away, the congress gave away too much power, but i was always aware, you know, like the previous question about how do you balance things? i was aware on security issues of the authority i had as a member of congress. i was also aware that i had a staff of 21 people and the president had the defense department, the state department, the c.i.a., the d.e.a., the n.s.a., embassies, consulates, and he had probably a lot more information and better advice than i had. and so on issues of war and peace, you know, i was reluctant to say well i know what i think and i'm just going to stop the president. there was time with i deferred to the executive on those kinds of issues. >> and i forgot, emily lovejoy, hofstra university.
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>> good. glad of to have you here. >> hi, i'm mike wing from the university of iowa. i had a question. >> congratulations. >> thank you. hawkeyes look good. do you think that the members of both the house and the senate are becoming complacent and siding with their party, simply to save their seat, or is it maybe that their actions have become acceptable by the american public, by continuing to vote them in as incumbents, or is it possibly the more powerful members of each party are kind of restrict being outside thought and maybe stepping over party lines? >> you know, it's really interesting question. i mean, i don't know the answer, because i haven't talked -- boy, i'm sorry, but i do this, and i know there's a roomful of political scientists here. how many of you have read david
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maheu from yale or taught david maheu? guy has no clue what he's talking about. the principle mayhew premise is that members of congress, or i would assume, it would be most people in any elective office, legislative office, decide how to vote based on what's going to get them reelected. in fact, what you see all the time and have seen in the health care debates is that people cast votes that in fact pay get them defeated, because what decides how you vote is not you were r reelection chances, although you might have sometimes be reluctant to willingly cast a vote that will get you defeated, but you start with ideology, with your belief, and everybody in this room, every single one of you has certain sets of beliefs about what's good for the country and about the role
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of government versus the citizen and where you balance security against, you know, going through a complete body scan at the airport. you all have a view on that, and what you're going to follow even if it means you're going to get in trouble back home. so my view has not been that the reelection calculus affects how people are voting. it's also my view that who your campaign contributors are isn't what affects how you vote. it's your ideology, but increasingly, it's also your party. it started back if one of my books, i talked about this, went back to the gingrich days in the house, when non-stop partisan warfare became, you know, the order of the day. it's not that a senior leader is doing it. it's that your party leadership is saying we have to hang
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together. this is our party position, as though we were a parliamentary system. i think that part, the party influence, has become way too strong. >> thank you, sir. >> hi, i'm lawyer i can't anderson, i'm have the university of massachusetts at amherst, and you mentioned before that it was important to tomb live read proposed bills. >> i know, shocking. >> shocking. i was wondering how much time you have on average to consider a bill and if that's actually enough time to completely understand it. >> well, as government gets bigger and the things that government takes up, you know, cover more and more territory, you know, like, you know, baseball and, you know, concussion for football, all this stuff, you know, it becomes harder and harder. i don't know to what extent
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y'all here from have a chance to consider the work of staffers in congress. the most important -- one of the most important things you do as a member of congress is hiring superb staff. most of them, you know, oarage, or just past your age. but who will provide you with good, in-depth background research, so it's not -- every member of congress does it his or her own way. i insisted on a couple of things. one was -- i don't know if any of you are going to go to law school, i'm a lawyer -- and one of the things i told my staff was every briefing, every briefing had to be one page, because if it's not -- if you can't say it in a page, you don't understand it. you're caught up in all the verbiage. you can have a lot of other background information, but i wanted both sides presentped, so
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what i got was a summary, you know, who was for it, who was against it, what it cost, what it would do, what the arguments are for and against, you know, with a lot of backdrop that i could then talk to them about. we had a of staff meeting every monday morning. we talked about every bill that was going to come up. we talked about every amendment, so we had conversation, we had discussion. so i didn't read every word of every bill, but i got a briefing from people who did, with good summaries of all the main arguments, and then we talked it out, so i don't think i went to the floor on most things uninformed. i think i went to the floor on most things pretty well understanding what was at stake. there were some i ahead to admit stuff like this, there were some examples where i didn't have a clue. and i know some of you are from
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agricultural areas. i didn't understand a thing about agriculture, but i had to vote on it, so i had my own way. it's a secret wave. some members do it. i would go to a friend who thought somewhat like i did, who was on the ag committee, and i would say, how did you vote? and they'd tell me and then i would vote that way, and i would go to my office,, i would call my legislative assistant, and i would say, i just voted for this, write something up telling me why. so that was part of the balance. but on most issues, we were pretty well informed. we couldn't read he bill, but we got very goal briefings. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> don't tell anybody about what i did. >> good morning, congressman. thank you for coming. i'm rickey yale from suffolk
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university, boston. >> a lot of snow there. i just got back. >> yeah. i know. you mentioned that we've seen a congress of more independent members through the recent health care debate, but republicans remain unified against the bill. do you feel that there's a place for moderate republicans in the near future in congress? >> well, first of all, you know, i would like to see more independent -- i think the constitution requires more independence, but i don't think i'm seeing it. i think i'm seeing more people locked in to partisanship. what was the last part of -- >> do you feel there's a place, like there's a near future for moderate republicans? >> are you asking me whether i think that's good or whether i think it's going to happen? >> whether you think it's going to happen. >> there was a really interesting book by a guy named bill bishop, who is a reporter in austin, texas, called "the big sort" in which he made the
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argument that it is not just the elites or the elected officials who are polarized, but it's the counsel trip itself. and that you have communities in which you tend to have people living with, hanging out with, spending all their time with people who share their views, reading articles that share their views and so forth. and i think there is a lot of that. i would like to believe it's not true, but i taught at harvard for 11 years, and i'm from oklahoma. you can't find a liberal in oklahoma and you can't find a conservative at harvard. so i think there's a lot of truth to that, about the way we tend to congregate that way. and that means that you have communities, you know, like massachusetts, that it would be really, really hard to see a republican, moderate or not
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moderate, elected to a federal office. now, you elect republican governors there, an they tend to be more moderate, although mitt romney was a moderate until he decided to run for president and then he became different, but i think probably not, not in the short term. i think it would be good if you had more diversity in the parties, but as you become more partisan and it's a matter of standing together as a party, the parties are taking on their own identities, where you basically don't have republican and democrat as much as you have liberal and conservative and it's getting harder and harder for any moderate republican to win a primary. doesn't mean that the electorate as a whole could vote that a moderate could not win in a massachusetts, or, you know, new hampshire, vermont, whatever, but you have to get through the primary system first and by the way, what's a whole different
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topic about partisanship, because we allow these two -- i don't know if you thought about it, you go to the polls in november and there may be a lot of people you would like to vote for but you can't, because these two private clubs have gotten together with their primaries or their conventions and they've weeded out everybody they didn't want, so they're part of the problem, but i think that would make it really hard to have moderate republicans or even really conservative democrats become real powers. >> why thank you very much. >> ok. >> good morning, congressman. i am chelsea. as we talk about the partisan ship and polarization that happens in congress, you just mentioned that you don't see in the near future moderates being a viable candidate in an election, but what do you think -- do you think that anything could be done or what do you think could happen to change the political scene? >> you know, i don't think
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moderate are necessarily going to come to the fore. i think independents might. in many states in the united states today, there are more registered independents or unenrolled or the states have different names for them. who are not affiliated with either party. and i think there are more people -- i'm not the only person who is fed up with the high level of partisanship, and i think, you know, there have already been independents elected governors in some states, some local communities are getting rid of party designations for, you know, races for mayor and city council, so i think we may see slowly perhaps a rise of the independents politically. >> thank you. >> hi, i'm from washington jefferson college. you actually already answered two of my questions, but i guess
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i was wondering, since barack obama already, you know, tried to enhance the role of the congress, by letting them do what they're supposed to do, do you think that he will continue this encouragement and have them keep doing what they're supposed to do or do you think that the criticism of what he tried to do will maybe stop him in the future from allowing that role of congress to stay? >> well, you know, it's not up to him, because he doesn't allow congress to do anything. you know. it's up to the congress to decide, mr. president, and tee done this -- ronald reagan, who i was very close to, and you know, i admired him a lot, he sent a budget one year to the congress, to the house, wasn't even opened. it wasn't looked at. ended up in the trash. thank you, mr. president. we appreciate all the effort. i'm sure it was a good exercise and you learned a lot from it
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and now we'll decide, and it really is -- the problem is not presidents trying to assert or not assert authority. every human being, you know, tries to have more authority. because you think you know what's the right thing to do. it's up to the congress to not surrender its authority and i prefer not using words like authority, but obligation. it's up to the congress to say, we took an af oath of office, we have to make those decisions. so the president may try, he's getting lots of criticism from the left, his own party and he may try to be more controlling, but i don't think he'll get away with it. it's interesting. i hate to be critical of my own party, although i often am. when republicans ran congress, with a republican president, republicans acted like -- republican members of congress acted like they were presidential staff.
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and a lot of democrats, especially the older democrat, don't think that. you know, you guarantee you, charlie rangle and henry waxman and john dingell are not going to act like they were part of the president's staff, they'll say we were here before, we'll be here after. good luck. so i think that obama may have try to push more, you know, but i don't think congress will listen. >> but then why do you think -- because lee hamilton said in chapter 12 of this book that congress has been in -- [inaudible] why do you think congress has been quote unquote, as hamilton put it, too timid in their constitutional duties? >> i think it's been a couple of reasons. one of them -- i don't know exactly which part lee was talking about, but i'll get to that. one of them walls the rise of partisanship. when george bush was president and republicans were running the
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congress, they really saw themselves -- they saw the president not as the head of a different branch of government. they saw him as their team captain. and what do you do? i mean, as people from iowa know, you keep your quarterback from getting sacked. and that was a serious mistake on their part. so sometimes with partisanship arises, you do tend to say, well, we want to go along with the president of our party. but there are other reasons. one of the worst examples of congress surrendering its authority under the constitution is the war powers act. under the constitution, the congress decides whether you go to war, and there's a reason for that. having seen kings and emperors off to go get people killed if pursuit of whatever was the favorite cause of that president or king, our founders said,
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we're going to go to war, remember, washington even said no entankling alliances, our founder say we're going to go to war only if the people themselves, through their representatives, say that we think it's worth going to war over. otherwise, you know, that's why the people's representatives decide. the war powers act said, we are going to allow a president of the united states to take this country to war, and then we'll look at it after the fact and decide whether or not we think it should continue. well, what are you going to do? you may think you should not be at war, but i was not going to vote to cut off the money, the support, the weapons, the ammunition, you know, for our troops who are in combat. basically. the war powers act surrendered that authority to the executive, and the reason for that was not partisanship. it was what i said before, is that you just -- you're
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reluctant in this age to put your view ahead of the guy who's got all of these agencies, the defense department and all of that, and you know, so there's a feeling that, wow, i don't want to be the one who screws up and causes the next, you know, bombing, or the next whatever. so that's part of it. >> thank you. >> good morning, my name is katie, you say that voting on freddie lines is a violation of office. what is being done if congress to address this issue and if it isn't being addressed, what measures do you suggest that i guess congress make to readdress their accountability to the u.s. government rather than to their party lines? >> well, there is only one ultimate power in our system. i mean, the ultimate, final word. and that's you.
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it's the people. one of the things -- i was pretty partisan myself, you know, i was national chairman of the national conservative union, i was a leader in the republican party. i went back to my congress am district one time many, many years ago, and at a town meeting, i had many town meetings, and gave the usual response. i don't remember what the question was, or what it was, but somebody wanted to know, why i wasn't doing something, and i gave what i believed to be the truthful answer, and that is, i'm trying, we've introduced legislation, you're doing this, but the other guys control it, the democrats control congress, they won't let us get this done, they're blocking it an one my constituents stood up and said, i don't even remember who epiphany was, i don't know his name, but he said i am so damn
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sick and tired of hearing the republicans did this, the democrats did that, and there were hundreds of people in the room, all burst into applause when he said that and i've never done it it since and part of it is that when you hear your representative talking in partisan terms, talking in terms of the other party, you've got to call them on it and you've got to say, we sent you there, to be a member of congress, to take the oath of office, to obey the constitution, and that's your obligation and we're going to be watching to see whether you do that. and when you don't do that and you follow your party, and come back -- i wrote an article in the "l.a. times" that pointed out that barbara boxer and dianne feinstein, i just use them as examples, because it was for the "l.a. times," each voted with their party over 95% of the time. i said anybody who votes with their party 95% of the time ought to be tossed out of office. and so the american people
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really have to be the ones to stand up and insist, you know, that any elected official does his or her duty, it won't happen otherwise, when you know they're going to kick them out of office when you don't. that will do it. >> thank you. >> my name is ed, and i'm from suffolk university in boston. >> there's nobody left in boston. they're all here. >> do you feel that health care bills suchals the one that's working through congress or romney-kerry in massachusetts, that mandate citizens to buy health care from a private company are constitutional? >> i've got some criticism from some people who wanted national health care reform for saying this. i do think -- i'm not a constitutional scholar, but i think there is certainly a
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constitutional question. the mandate -- somebody said to me, well, but you're required to buy car insurance. well, no, you're not. you're required to buy car insurance if you have a car and you drive. you know, that's part of it. but to require, to mandate that people go out and purchase a product, i don't know whether it's constitutional or not. i'm not saying it's not. i think it's certainly -- the constitutionality of it will be questioned. >> thank you. >> hi, my name is chelsea, i'm from quinnipiac university. yesterday we spent a lot of time discussing midterm elections that are coming up this year and i was just wondering if you could give your opinion on what you think might happen and how that could change congress and its relationship with the obama presidency. specifically, in regards to the news of the two senators
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retiring. i'm from connecticut, so -- >> well, the -- chris dodds' retirement would actually help the democrats, because he probably would lose that seat. and the democrat who will probably run, blumenthal, will probably win that seat, so -- he did something to hem the party. i don't think that's the case with dorgen. i think republicans have a good chance of winning that seat. it's really rare for a president's party to gain seats or to not lose seats in the first election after the president was elected. it's -- it is almost always a time when the president's party loses seats, and with you add to that the fact that this president has been very, very ambitious in terms of the number of major kinds of controversial
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issues, he's pushed in the first year, first two years of his presidency, by that time, a lot of which, you know, generates a lot of opposition, whether it's buying part ownership in companies, or the huge bailouts of the financial industry, or health care, all of which are very controversial, no matter which side you're on, i think democrats are going to take a bath. i think they're going to be really hurt in the elections. does that mean they'll lose their majorities? i don't know if it will be that bad, but i do think, you know, republicans are going to gain seats, partly because of just the natural way it unfolds in these offyear elections. and the other partisan plea, there are a lot of issues out there where people are taking
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positions based on their ideology that are not when their constituents want and some of them are going to pay a price for it. >> thank you. [applause] >> one more question. >> we've got one more here. can we do one more? highly talk fast. she can talk slow but i'll talk fast. >> my name is martha and i'm from suffolk university in boston as well. my question is, the president had had promised that the -- most of the debates were health care reform were going to be open and public and c-span has asked for coverage of the debate between congress and the senate. and they haven't responded. what's your take on this being possibly closed? >> well, you know, i would divorce that from obama, although he has signed of 0 on doing it, -- off on doing it, but this is the decision by
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harry reid and nancy pelosi as i talked about before to avoid going to conference, conferences are open and they're cover and the press is there. and this is -- i think he's right. now, i will say that i think brian lamb is right. i have myself been critical in the past of having everything be open, because when everything is open and you have the press there for everything, including all the committee meetings and conference committees, it becomes very hard to reach a compromise, because everybody is watching to see whether you're going to stay true to your position. so openness sometimes works against good government by locking people in, but that's not the reason they are doing it this way. this time, they're not trying to avoid a conference in order to be able to preserve the right, the ability to compromise. they're avoiding a conference in order to make sure that they can just ram through what they want. and i think the press is
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completely right to complain about that. it's really not up to the president, what the house and senate decide to do. it would be helpful if he would keep out of it, but this is up to nancy pelosi and reid and the leadership in the two houses to say we're not going to play those kind of games. it may be harder for us to prevail if we do it the norm ham way, but we're not going to go behind closed doors and do everything in secrecy. that won't help them in the elections and it's certainly not good for government. >> thank you. >> thank you, mickey. >> all right. [applause] >> we take you live now to the first of two events looking at president obama's strategy in afghanistan. speakers at this morning's discussion including former c.i.a. agents bruce riden and frank anderson. the middle east policy council
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hosting the event, just getting underway on c-span2. >> we present four of them a year, discussing important topics and bringing good panelists, and we always have the transcript of our capitol hill conference to serve as the first article in our quarterly journal. but even before that, you'll be able to read the transcript of this next week and hear the audio and see the video on our web site, which is >> mr. skwrao: our third program is a public outreach program, which includes public commentary for the media. but the most important top sick our teacher program, in which barbara travels around the country and helps high school teachers, middle school teachers, elementary school
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teachers, learn how to teach about the middle east and islam better and she reaches about 1500 high school -- or pardon me, 1500 teachers per year, and about 150,000 students a year. with that program. so i ask you to look at our web site, read about our programs, think about subscribing to our journal. now, today, we're here to discuss afghanistan. obviously, the president has made his hiss decision about the -- his decision about the way forward, he made it in a very deliberate way, hearing advice from people whose views differed and instead of choosing a more narrowly focused counterterrorism strategy, he chose to surge additional forces to afghanistan and pursue a very aggress of counterinsurgency
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strategy. we have people here on the panel who agree with this and people who question it and disagree with it. certainly there are issues concerning the partners we have to work with in afghanistan and pakistan. and the terrain and the demography. and another issue of course is that we've already lost a thousand men and women in this war. we've already spent $250 billion in this war. we will probably spend another trillion dollars in in war, but we do need to find pa way to protect the american people from the scourge of terrorism. so we will ask the panel to discuss this today. and i'm going to introduce all four of our panelists first, because i think it will be fastest. there is a more extensive bio of each one of them on the flipside of your invitation an i will just touch on the high lights of these people. first is bruce riedel, who is a senior fellow for middle east
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policy at the brookings institution and a former c.i.a. officer, who has also served in the department of defense, and the national security council, and has been a senior adviser to three american presidents on middle eastern questions and terrorism and political transition and conflict press luges. -- resolution. at the request of president obama he chaired an interagency review to consider our policy toward afghanistan and pakistan this spring. and in addition to this, bruce is an author, whose latest book is called "the search for al qaeda" which was published by brookings in 2008 and will be out in paperback in about two months. then we mrs. have peter bergen, who i think is known to many of you as a cnn national security
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expert and an expert on al qaeda, he has many other positions as well, for example at new york university center for law and security. and has worked for other media outlets as well. as cnn, for example, discovery channel and national geographic and also has been an adjunct professor at the kennedy school of law at harvard for the last year. he has many books, has been translated into 18 languages, and the other is "the osama bin laden i know," an oral history of al qaeda's leader, which came out in 2006. and our third speaker to my immediate left is frank anderson, my colleague and the president of the middle east policy council. who has been spent 27 years in the united states government, working on middle eastern issues an many of those years in the
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middle east and who retired in 1995 as the chief of the near east south asia division of the central intelligence agency and since that time, he's been providing consulting services to corporations. on middle eastern issues. and finally, to my far right, there is mark sageman, an independent researcher on terrorism, the founder of sageman consulting and the director of research at artist and a consultant for rti international. he has consulted for hour government, many branches of our government, foreign governments, the new york police department, he holds academic positions at georgetown university and the university of maryland. and he served in the central intelligence agency from 1984 to 1991, spending 1987 to 1989 in islamabad. running the u.s. unilateral
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programs with the afghan mujahadeen. also, marc is an author. his last two books is understanding terrorist networks and "leaderless job." this is an excellent panel, which reflects differing points of view on this issue, so without any further ado, let me ask bruce to come to the podium. gentleman. >> thank you for that very generous and kind introduction. it's a pleasure to be here. i've had the privilege of speaking to this forum before and it's always a great honor to be here, especially in a magnificent room like this. let me begin with a disclaimer. although i was the chairman of the president's strategic review of policy towards afghanistan and pakistan last winter and spring, he lived up to his commitment to me, temporary duty and i was freed in the beginning
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of april of 2009. i am not a spokesman for the united states government. please do not regard my remarks has in any wave representing the views of either the president or the u.s. government. i speak only for myself. that said, what i would like to do is review for up very briefly the key conclusions of the review that i chaired, particularly on the substance of afghanistan, al qaeda, and a bit on pakistan, and then spend most of my time talking about the way forward and where we go from here, and what we can expect in the months ahead. briefly put, president obama inherited a disaster in afghanistan. a war that should have been won and finished in 2002 was not. instead of going of a our enmy relentlessly and remorselyleslys
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we lost our attention and drifted off to the mesopotamian valley. the consequence was our enemy was allowed to regroup and recover. the afghan state that we tried to rebuild was gravely handicapped from the beginning. al qaeda was able to reestablish a safe haven, a sanctuary along the border between pakistan and afghanistan. and pakistan itself, a country of 170 million people, with the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, became increasingly and significantly destabilized by the spillover from afghanistan. let me look at the pieces just for a minute. al qaeda. in eight years of struggle against al qaeda, we have succeeded in moving its core leadership from kandahar, afghanistan, to a location completely unknown.
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believed to be, believed to be about 100 kilometers away, somewhere in pakistan. but the truth is, despite the largest manhunt in history, we don't have a clue where osama bin laden is. we haven't had eyes on target since tora bora. we hear his voice, with you know he's there, but we haven't a clue where he is. that makes the whole issue of trying to establish how critical and influential he is in al qaeda today all the more complex. for analysts to understand. what we do know is that this al qaeda core has successfully embedded itself in what i call a syndicate of terrorist organizations in pakistan. the old of a began taliban, the new pakistan taliban, groups like josh mohammed, this is not a monolith and al qaeda is a very, very small part of a much
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larger syndicate. it has no central direction, it has various different agendas. but one thing stands out. they cooperate with each other. on a practical level and so far, none of them have been willing to turn on high value target number one. in the last year and a half, starting under the bush administration, which deserves credit for building the program, we have begun to put significant pressure on al qaeda in pakistan through the use of the drones. the obama administration has escalated the use of the drones to about one attack a week. but as we saw in khost, the al qaeda core remains undefeated. they remain resilient and
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deadly. if in fact the khost operation was the work of a triple agent as many now seem to thinking, triple agent operations are extraordinarily complex and difficult. this demonstrates the enemy we're dealing with is a very sophisticated and deadly one. i won't spend a lot of time on the situation in afghanistan. bob woodward was nice enough to allow all of us to have the opportunity to read about it in depth. if you haven't read t i urge you to do so. i would only highlight to you one point. it's in the appendix. when he talks about the detention facilities in afghanistan. and he in essence says the detention facilities in afghanistan are no longer under the control of the nato-isaf coalition. that as a practical matter,
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those detention facilities are now operated internally by al qaeda and taliban and that is where the most radicalization process of al qaeda new operatives is going on in afghanistan today. i would submit to you in a counterinsurgency, when you've lost control of the prisons, where you put captured insurgents, you are in deep, deep trouble. and turning that around will be a very difficult issue. but it is not a hopeless issue. afghanistan 2010 is not afghanistan 1980. we are not the soviet union, and we do not face a national upricing, like the soviet union faced. when we fought against the soviets in afghanistan, we had the benefit that virtually the entire afghan population was sympathetic to us. uzbeks, pashtuns. the taliban insurgency as
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aexpires to be that, but is in fact a pashtun community. the good news for us, the majority of afghans are not pashtuns. and even a majority of pashtuns do not want to see a return to the medieval hell that mullah omar created in the second half of the 1990's. smart policies can still reverse the momentum here. just a word about pakistan. pakistan is in the midst of an extraordinarily difficult transition, from military dictatorship to democracy. we should support this transition enthusiastically, but we should recognize this is pakistan's fourth attempt at doing so. you have to believe in the triumph of hope over expectation, to expect pakistan will get there, but it is in hour interest to encourage them to do so, because the pakistani
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military establishment over the years has proven incapable of running the country, and has developed extensive, intimate ties with the syndicate of terror that i talked about that runs along the borderlands and now deep into the heartland of pakistan. for a variety of reasons, mostly dealing with india, the pakistani military establishment believes it must maintain at least parts of those relationships. in the last year, we have seen part of the jihaddist frankenstein in pakistan actually turn against its old master and today, pakistan is witnessing the most serious political violence in the country's history. it is bordering on civil war. in many ways. the good news here is that the pakistani people seem to increasingly come to the conclusion that their freedoms and their way of life is truly
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threatened by this jihaddist monster. that wakeup is the best news we've seen in pakistan in a long time. where do we go next? well, the first thing i would stress is we cannot delink afghanistan and pakistan. in fact, we cannot delink afghanistan from its water regional environment. if we are to succeed in afghanistan, whatever success means, it must be done within a larger, regional environment. we will need to find ways to encourage all of afghanistan's neighbors to help in trying to stable highs this country, and we will need to get other countries to help us to stabilize and solidify civilian control in pakistan. the president has embarked upon what i would call a very bold
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gamble, and there are no gun toes of success. -- guarantees of success. this strategy requires a very delicate interplay of military, political, diplomatic and economic activity, and all must be coordinated together to willed a synthesis -- build a synthesis, which brings about what we want to have happen. it will cost a great deal. an american soldier deployed to afghanistan costs about one million dollars per person per year, and there's no economy of scale. if you send more, it's not cheaper. it gets more expensive. it will also cost in blood and in lives. the key in the long term, for whether we succeed, is whether we can build up an afghan national security force, a combination of army, police, and local militias, that can, for
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the long term, contain insurgencies in afghanistan. including the taliban, but potentially other insurgencies in the future. of afghan states have been able to do that in the past. it is a myth that afghanistan is an ungovernable space. that's bad history, and bad understanding of the situation. but it's going to be and we've had a significant setback in the last year. the afghan presidential election was also a disaster. we had vote fraud on an extraordinary came -- scale. one million fraudulent ballots. even by the standards of illinois and florida, that is cheating at a remarkable degree. worse than that, the perpetrators were caught, and they got away with it. the legitimacy of the afghan
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government in the eyes of the afghan people and maybe more importantly, in the eyes of americans and europeans, who are sending their sons and daughters to fight their, has been severely crippled. if the president's strategy fails, i suspect we will look back and say the election dealt it a fatal blow. but we must persevere in any case and see if we can't work around it now. the president's decision is in my view, the best of some very bad options. in many ways, the only really had three. option one was to cut and run. we can call it all kind of different things. down size the mission, reorient the mission. but nobody in afghanistan and just as importantly, nobody in pakistan would see it as
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anything other than. once more, the united states is packing up its bags and leaving us to deal with the results of a failed intervention. the second alternative was to stay where we were, with exactly the forces and the equipment and the tactics that we have. americans are rightly afraid that afghanistan is going to turn into a quagmire, but i've got bad news for you. we're already in a quagmire. that's why the option of staying where we are was unacceptable. when you're waist deep in the big muddy, you can't say i hope we won't get into the swamp. we're in the swamp. we have to find a way to do it better. final word. about pakistan. because while afghanistan is very, very hard, in many ways,
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pakistan is even harder yet. we are trying to change the strategic direction of a country. a country that is inestimatebley more important in every way than afghanistan. trying to get pakistan back on a healthy course is vital not just for americans and afghans, but for indians, for chinese, for iranians, for people around the world. for 60 years, united states has had a policy towards pakistan, that has oscillated wildly between love affair and divorce. on some occasions, we have been madly in love with pakistan's leaders. and we have turned our eyes away from all of their faults, and thrown money at them with no accountability. in other years, we've had bitter and ugly divorces, in which
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we've accused pakistan of all kinds of ills, cutoff assistance, even assistance which was in our interest to provide. the result of this is simple. pakistanis have come to the conclusion america is not a reliable ally, because america has not been a reliable ally. what america needs to do with pakistan is a policy of constancy, of cajoling, of pressuring, supporting, helping, of correcting, of screaming at, engagement. at all times and at all levels. bearing in mind that we should always keep the civilian government at the top of the agenda of who we deal with. the stakes in afghanistan and pakistan today are enormous.
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they're for must not just in south asia, but they're for must for americans. this is the place from which the attack of september 11 was planned and coordinated. recent event have underscored the risk we continue to run. they may have been orchestrated in yemen this time, but the head of the snake, as far as we know, remains in pakistan and afghanistan. but the stakes are also enormous for this president. wars consume presidencies. this is now america's longest war. and it is bound to consume this presidency as well. the president's advisers, many of them, particularly those who worry about domestic issues and health care, rebuilding a badly damaged american economy, for good reasons, do not want to see
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america bogged down if an endless war in afghanistan. but that's what they inherited, and that's what they have to fix, in the three years ahead that they still have. thank you very much for your attention. [applause] gentleman. >> >> thank you very much for this invitation to speak to the middle east council and to be on this distinguished panel. i wanted to start with some data about what afghans think about afghanistan, because there's much discussion about what we think, i think it's helpful to also take into account their opinions. and there have been countrywide polls in afghanistan by all sorts of organizations, the international republican
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institute, bbc news, asia society, these polls are conduct nationwide on a scientific basis and they're conducted every year, starting in 2005. in the case of the bbc poll. and the results are pretty surprising, i think the people who sort of think that the afghan project is going south. when asked what is your view of the united states in afghanistan, according to the bbc, 68% of afghans thinks that the united states and afghanistan is either doing a fair, good, or excellent job. when asked the same question about nato, 78% of afghans say that nato-isaf is doing a fair, good or excellent job. when asked the question, would you prefer to be ruled by the current government or the taliban, 82% of afghans say they would prefer to be ruled by the current government, and only 4% say they'd like to be ruled by the taliban, which is not surprising, because there's one prophylactic against enthusiasm for the taliban which is previous rule by the taliban. there's nothing dwight like being ruled for them to have a
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negative view of them and consistently by the way, 7% -- the taliban usually gets a 7% 5ble rating in polls that have been conducted back to 2005. who is the biggest threat to your expiewrt? 58% say the taliban. only 8% say the united states. what's your -- is the national government doing a good job? in 2009, 71% said yes. was it mostly good -- i think again, according to the bbc, was it mostly good or very good that the united states overthrew the taliban, this is last year. 69% say yes. the final and perhaps most astonishing figure, what's your view of the united states military, this is last year again from the bbc, 63% strongly support or somewhat support the u.s. military in afghanistan, so i think those numbers are very important when we make -- when we have this discussion. the afghans want this to work, they're not opposed to international forces. by the way, exactly the same
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organizations routinely also poll in pakistan, and to those who say, well, you can't trust polling data in afghanistan, well, exactly the same polling organizations routinely poll in pakistan and consistently find it to be the most anti- -- one of the most anti-american countries in the world. i believe both polls. i think pakistan is a very anti-american country consistently, and that afghanistan remains, our numbers have dropped from 80%, but we're in the sort of 60%, which means we're conducting a counterinsurgency obviously in afghanistan. the central doctrine is the central of gravity of the population, so given that, the population is basically at least half or more on our side. i think there are grounds to think that this is going to be a successful effort. as you know, this was the least resourced to reconstruction effort the united states is engaged in. we spent something like 18 times more per capita in post knee i can't and in kosovo compared to what we did in afghanistan. we got what we paid for. we did it on the cheap and we know what the result is. so let me just -- having given
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you those sort of data points, let me just make seven or eight quick points about what we're doing in afghanistan, because there are -- i think there are a lot of myths out there and bruce very ably already sort of addressed the soviet issue. this is not the grave yard of vampire. this idea should be retired to the grave yard of cliches. all sorts of empires have gone into afghanistan. but on -- unlike most of those other invasions, the of afghans do want us to perform and to compare us, our occupation to the soviets, is poor history on so many other levels. bruce mentioned the fact there was a countrywide insurrection. every ethnic group and every class was involved in that insurrection. the best account written of the afghan war in the early years, he calculated at any given moment, there were 175,000 or 250,000 approximately full-time soldiers on the battlefield fighting the soviets. even if you take the largest number of tam ban full-time
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soldiers, it's 20,000. we're facing a relatively small insurgency compared to what the soviets faced. this will not be obama's vietnam. this is a crazy comparison. it might be his afghanistan, that's a separate issue, but it will not be his vietnam. nva was 500,000 man army, supported by the soviets, they had, you know, it was a major problem for the united states. at the height of the violence in vietnam, 154 american soldiers were being killed every four days. that's the same number that were killed last year in afghanistan. so it's -- history by a kind of policy by analogy doesn't work in this case. the other thing that bruce touched on, which i completely -- the idea that afghanistan as a nation state is absolutely ridiculous. in 1747, the durina federation was fonded. the beginning of afghanistan as a nation, that makes it an older nation than the united states. what the problem of being in afghanistan is not a lack of nationhood as an idea, it's
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generally speaking, it has had a weak central state and there's nothing wrong with that and our sort of trying to impose a top down central state has been part of our problem here i think. and it's sort of related to that, by the way, the most popular institution in afghanistan scoring just enormously high numbers is the afghan national army which is obviously our ticket out, building that up, but with asked, which institution do you most admire, 82% say the afghan national army, which is seen as not operating in any ethnic -- particularly in any ethnic interest and is seen as an institution that's really doing good work. :
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>> the populations of the two countries are roughly the same. the other idea is, you know, the afghans are resistant to foreigners. the 63% favorable view of the united states military stage for itself. why should it be a success other
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than the fact that the population is on our side? a very common polling question is what is your view of the future. when americans were asked this question at the tail end of the bush administration i'm surprised that only 17% were favorable. well, when you ask afghans the same question at the same time 40%. that's the surprising answer. the most corrupt country in the world, huge problem. the reason afghans have that answer is that it looks a lot better than what they lived through. a country in history that lived through russian occupation, and warlordism, and the taliban. this is a pretty bad combination. we know all the problems that have existed what is going on today is better than what has gone in the past. and four-and-a-half million refugees have returned. this is a very important number. refugees left in iraq.
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almost none of those refugees have returned. just several hundred thousand if you're being generous. refugees do not return to places they don't think have a future, and afghans think afghanistan as a future. when asked do you have more freedom 75% of afghans said yes. okay. so let's say we solve afghanistan, there is still the problem of pakistan, which bruce has already discussed. there has been no 9/11 moment in pakistan. 9/11 has happened. if you take the death of the most popular politician and modern history who would have scored a landslide victory you take that with the cricket team. a very seismic event. you take the 17-year-old girl
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being flogged by the taliban. you take the fact that something like a thousand civilians have died just this year in the northwest frontier province alone. you take that together and you find that pakistan's support for suicide bombing and the taliban and al qaeda is cratering. 33% of pakistanis thought about suicide bombing was okay seven years ago in certain circumstances. so the pakistani operations can conduct a war in their own country. they didn't have that. these are performance art operations designed to satisfy the united states. the operation of waziristan today is a real military operation. it may not have been conducted to american counterinsurgencies standards, but it has been
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successful. so pakistan is changing. will they go after the afghan taliban? who knows? will they go after al qaeda? who knows? we're seeing is probably the closest alignment. two final points. the train has left the station, but advocates of doing less, the cut-and-run option that bruce mentioned or doing it lighter in various shapes or forms have to answer really two questions. one, we have basically done this already twice. we have done the do-nothing option, closing our embassy in 1989, and wash our hands of it. into that vacuum stepped the
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taliban and al qaeda. we have already done the do-it-light option. this time more together much more closely. and the final point i think we can define down some of our goals in afghanistan in an important way based on what the afghans actually want. the afghans don't necessarily want a particular legitimate government. we all want legitimate governments, but they have not had much experience. the taliban brought security. the warlords didn't bring security. obviously the soviets had no legitimacy. the afghans are not expecting an ultra-capable, ultra-legitimate government. what they are expecting a security. the new obama plan will deliver that. the final piece of polling data is when asked what is your principal concern afghans in a recent poll said 34% said my principal concern is security. only 4% said corruption. the new plan i think can begin to deliver security.
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after all, why did the taliban come to power? the one good thing they delivered was security. we can deliver security and other things in addition, which will that is a plan for real progress in afghanistan. thank you. [applauding] [inaudible conversations] >> first, let me repeat tom's words of thanks for everyone for coming in the middle east policy council roll, and then in the interests of time i will get right at this. bruce and i were speaking as i came in and remembering that in some form or another i have been engaged in or working on afghanistan for 27 years.
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and i probably read everything that comes out, at least in the english language, on the subject. i have recently traveled there and will again. i suppose i have become an expert. from the point of view of policy prescriptions the more i know the less i understand. and i must say that in 1982 i had easy explanations for what the united states ought to do in afghanistan. they are much less easily at hand now. afghanistan is a dizzily complex place. it is geopolitically complex. its relationship with afghanistan and its other
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neighbors is almost impossible to easily fix or even describe. it's culturally and politically complex in ways that every time i look at the place i find another level of social organization that i did not know about before. in this complexity, and i'm going to go to sharon of npr recently a development activist who said you can't analyze it. you have to experience it to the point that you develope intimacy. in that intimacy numbers aren't often useful. it is just repeated experience and reflection. my experience and reflection now bring me to a couple memories, one of them, surprisingly not
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from the gop politician or a government person, but in pop psychology person in the 1960's called games people play. and one of the games people play is let's you and him fight. that is, in my government experience it was the essential game of the cold war. we fought by proxies. and it was let you and him fight. afghanistan, every time it is invaded, every time it interacts with people or states from the outside there is a complex game of let's you and him fight that goes on. in order not to be drawn into it, once again, you have to develop intimacy. my sources for intimacy and understanding are those that i want to point out today. i don't have any prescriptions.
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interestingly, a poet, a journalist, a development activist, and a wanderer. the poet is kipling. there is so many of those that have been involved in it. i will remind you of his poem on the arithmetic. he begins a describing with some dismay that the british determination that one has to be educated extensively before you are regarded as qualified to face the foe, but then he describes a scrimmage in a border station down some dark defiled 200 pounds of education. a couple lines later, strike hard to cares, shoot straight who can. the odds are on the cheaper man.
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and points out that one sword stolen from a camp will pay all of the school expenses. nevertheless these people who know no words of move sentences being blessed with perfect sight pick off our best mates left and right. and we should be painfully reminiscent of. it's his line, with home read words, the troopships bring us one by one at vast expense of time and speed, time and steam. and his last line is, the captives of our bow and spear are cheap, alas as we are dear. my experience in government and in life absolutely supports kipling's judgment that the odds are on the cheaper man.
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not in afghan experience, but in early experience with the failed 1980 plan to rescue hostages who were held in our embassy in iran has led me to believe that the odds are on the simpler plan. our 1980's involvement in afghanistan against the soviets definitely put us on this side of the cheaper man. it was very expensive, even then, for the soviets with proximity to get and support their people there. they had no requirement, we had no requirement to recruit or train or transmit or command the forces in afghanistan. at that time the hillsides t eamed up with hoards that
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flocked to the fight. the mujahideen enabled that perfect fight. our plan was simple and t ime-proven. it was to make life so miserable that they would pack up and leave. all we had to do was provide guns, ammunition, and a surprisingly small amount of cash to the steaming hoards. we did require helping from pakistan and several other states and did have to operate a relatively long and expensive supply line, but our challenges were cheap and simple compared to the soviets. this is an aside, i think we have been strongly and justifiably criticized for not picking up the more complex and costly in a long-run job of post-conflict development when the soviets left. and the result was afghanistan became further into chaos in
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which the taliban were the only option. it brought security. brought protection for the people of afghanistan. they managed to conquer, not through fighting, but negotiation. as they move through the country. and as ugly as it was they did provide security until they went the way of every recent political force in afghanistan. they became more rapacious, uglier. and the people of afghanistan welcomed us and nato forces when we returned in 2001. i believe that our failure since 2001 is less of being diverted than it is of being mired down in expense and complexity.
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in the very beginning a game of let's you and him fight was played to our detriment. describing how appointment of the governor of kandahar was frustrated. the president of afghanistan, newly appointed, had appointed to whom he believed to be the right man and certainly had the tribal and military force or paramilitary force behind him to take the job. u.s. special forces, on the other hand, got engaged in appointing a rival because we lost that game of let's you and him fight. all he had to do is point and call taliban to the other guy.
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our continued complexity and cost, we need reform or transformation in order to succeed in pakistan. the soviets needed to transform afghan society in order to succeed. the taliban and our other enemies do not need to transform the society. right now, as bruce has pointed out, the leader of the government we are seeking to develop is providing at best lukewarm support to a reform agenda. there are those who complain that he is actively extracting it. our plan still and increasingly depends on long and expensive supply lines. there is an i quoted number which i have been trying to verify, but it is quoted often
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enough that it has become a cultural truth. cost $400 per gallon for every bit of fuel that has put into an isaf truck in kabul or kanadahar. we have to maintain cooperation with neighboring states that have mutually incompatible interests. forget the complexity of pakistan. pakistan and india are both vigorously pursuing programs that each of them believes is in inimical to the interest to the other. pakistan has many reasons to believe that our aim. not all of these reasons are legitimate. our efforts to develop core people a cultural understanding that they can have this intimate are being frustrated.
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we have just rebuked the service chiefs because they were unable to come up with one-fourth of the required 900 members it envisioned afghan pakistan expertise course. we are being dragged place after place in afghanistan in a game of let's you and him fight. the pashtun minority in afghanistan is increasingly being led to believe or believes that we are supporting a civil war on behalf of other ethnic groups. visit downtown kabul and walk around the united states embassy. it would indicate, i think wrongly, but still it is a visible sign to a person walking
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around that we are on the other side. let me go back, again, to my sources of intimacy and recommend to you a book "the punishment of virtue." she spent a good bit of her life in the last eight years. the book centers on this incident which i described where u.s. special operators blocked hamid karzai's planned governor for kabul. she interweaves into it a very well-written and interestingly a history that is well-written, well-organized, and based on a lot of her own research with the original sources. a second really important understanding of the country can be gotten from joe haversty's book "the opium season" which
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details a year in which he was involved in as a subcontractor in the usaid efforts in 2 004-2005 to provide alternative livelihood's to draw with the work force from up opium production. it gives a great view of the violence and corruption. and moreover it shows the bureaucratic profiteering and dysfunction that is increasing the complexity and cost of our involvement, not just in war, but in development. a third source, and i think it is outstanding if you want to understand the country is rory stewart, who within weeks after the fall of the taliban walked to kabul in the winter which is supposed to kill you and through
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pashtun villages and described that experience in a way that i think any soldier, diplomat, any development expert must read before he goes and attempts to understand afghanistan. in terms of policy prescriptions interestingly these three people who can be accused of an intimate understanding are not advocates of cut-and-run. their prescriptions, as peter has pointed out, as bruce has pointed out, are based on a requirement to provide security for the people of afghanistan. sadly now that security must not only be from the taliban or from warlords, but the security must be from the origins of the state that we are seeking to advance and stabilize.
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rory's comment -- am i running out of time? >> no. >> okay. we do have a possibility for more realistic affordable and therefore sustainable process that would not make afghanistan stable or predictable. it would merely be a small, if necessary, part of an afghan political strategy. u.s. allies, u.s. and its allies with only moderate, influence, and fund the strategy shaped by afghans themselves. we have got to come up with a way to do that simply. that simplicity has to be based on an intimate understanding of these folks so that we can stop losing the game of let's you and him fight. looking forward the next 18 months, i don't believe, and i am linked to this, that we ought to cut and run.
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if you had asked me just a few months ago, i would have said, get out. i do believe that we must transform ourselves. we have got somehow to get to the point where we can afford this involvement. now polls in afghanistan, polls in the united states indicate that we have a very limited time which we can continue to invest blood. we have to address our s tructural problems. they don't know if we can do this. the way that we have gone to war, there are field manuals and regulations, army regulations on how to deal with contractors on the battlefield. the united states agency for international development no longer has anybody, i think, are very few people who actually go out and run a project. everyone in the agency interfax with the contractor.
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i am on a contract myself. it is a well-conceived and well-executed program. it costs at least three or four times what it would cost if government employees were carrying it out. our own political system is not going to be changed in the coming years, but it is one of the incompetences with which we have to struggle. i profoundly believe that the president's ability to reformulate strategy in the last few months was hampered almost to the point of impossibility by the other side. failing never to pick up the cudgel that you and your campaign describe this as the
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good war. you know, make it a good one. never failed to pick up the cudgel of you're not listening to your generals. so i must say that the last administration was similarly beat about the head and neck and shoulders by the democratic party as it tried to form a policy. the partisan shots are not just unseemly. they are innovative. other systems, one of the things that joel pointed out, in our efforts to reduce opium production in afghanistan we are hampered by u.s. agricultural interests that won't let us promote the production of cotton. we have got to fix it. going to get down to it now. two things that we have got to address in order to simplify this.
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i think we have got to get outside the box. what bruce and peter have said, you have got to solve this in a regional way. some opportunities are rising. interestingly csis has come out with a point that our efforts to establish a logistics, an alternative logistics path through are creating new relationships that might grow into a modern silk road that could be an engine for development in the region. i will go back to my original point of humility. as time goes on i have less confidence in my ability to provide policy prescriptions. i can only say that the ones we are trying to carry out now are far too complex and far too costly to succeed in the time that we have available. thank you. [applauding]
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[inaudible conversations] >> thank you very much. thank you for inviting me. i want to start with a disclaimer. i completely agree with frank. the more i learn from personal experience and from extensive studies on afghanistan the less i know. so with that in mind i hope you will indulge me and, perhaps, listen to what i have to say. first of all, we are not dealing with a war. we are dealing with two wars. and when nobody really talks about. the one that is probably the most important, and we can't disconnect it. they are independent of each other. the one that nobody really talks about is the war fought right here in washington, d.c. within the beltway. this will have far more impact on whatever is happening in
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afghanistan than probably what is happening in afghanistan itself. this war is fought under exaggeration and hysteria and terms that actually hide the reality on the ground in afghanistan. it is driven by native political ambition, rather than international interests. and it pleads to very strange bedfellows, as we see right now with the president has far more support with republican than he has with his own party. what is the surge going to do? well, the surge is going to increase opposition to the war, as we have seen already and not only within this country, but also within europe where, of course, our nato allies are right there with us. and this, of course, just like frank mentioned, gives us
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limited time to do something because with this surge we are going to see an increasing number of deaths. we are going to see the images of body bags being flown back. and that the number of deaths, not just ours, but the number of deaths of afghans will paradoxically increase domestic terrorism, both in this country and in the west because of the moral outrage. i can only refer you to what happened two months ago with major hasan killing people in fort hood. so in a sense the surge paradoxically and ironically will accelerate our withdrawal from afghanistan especially by 2012 because it is going to be a huge issue in the presidential
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election. and, of course, much of it will depend in what will happen in our election ten months from now to see how much the democrats are going to lose in congress. okay. enough about washington, d.c. what about afghanistan itself? well, there are four issues. and they are not totally linked, and in a sense they have some independence. it is afghanistan, of course, pakistan, taliban, and al qaeda. i don't really have the time to get into pakistan because of limited time. but it probably we will depend n internal factors within pakistan. in terms of afghanistan let me repeat several times we do not have any vital interest in
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afghanistan, period. we do not have any vital interest in afghanistan, except for domestic national security. that is why we are in afghanistan. as a matter of fact, we are looking very closely to yemen right now. ten years ago we would have been looking at the sudan. fifteen years ago we would have been looking at sudan. so you can see. we are looking closely at somalia. you can see we actually do not have any vital interest in afghanistan itself, except for domestic national security interest. okay. that leads to the next question. what is the threat here in the united states or in the west? well, i have done a comprehensive survey of al qaeda-like plots successful and unsuccessful in the west in the last 20 years since the creation of al qaeda. well, there has been no al qaeda
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resurgence. there have been only two plots in the last three years linked to al qaeda. denmark in september 2004 and new york and denver here. there have been no fatality in the west linked to al qaeda been in nearly five years in the west. if you look at the plots over 80% are homegrown without any relationship to any terrorist organization. and if that has some relationship to any terrorist organization, it is no longer al qaeda. it is lashkar-e-taiba, as pointed out by bruce.
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and now al-shabab, the fellow who tried to kill the cartoonist in denmark last week. the arabic peninsula, the underwear bomber, and people always are afraid of the aqim in north africa. so there are a few afghans in al qaeda and almost no outsiders in afghanistan. if we trace back the plots that have any connection to terrorist groups in the west in the last eight years we see that nine, e, and i repeat none, are traced back to afghanistan. those that i trace back to groups until this past year were all traced back to pakistan and now yemen in somalia. so in order to actually promote national security here we need
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to focus on the group that can project to the west, and there is a group that i just mentioned. the afghan insurgents do not project to the west. they have a domestic agenda. okay. afghanistan, well, to disrupt, dismantle, defeat al qaeda and its allies. well, this is mostly done for the destruction and dismantling in afghanistan. they have moved to the center, as pointed out by bruce. so we have succeeded on part of that. we have not defeated al qaeda. al qaeda is not dead, as was shown last week by the killing of the cia officers in khost. okay. so what is the surge going to do for us? it is going to be very uneven.
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it will depend on the implementation of what we do, and it is going to vary according to the locality in afghanistan. it is not going to be different. so some of them will be good, and those, of course, will be trumpeted in washington. and those that will be bad will be trumpeted in washington because you have two camps. we are going to muddle through. what we really should be able to do is to isolate the foreigners, mainly al qaeda from the locals especially from the taliban. this is much easier than defeating the taliban. now that we are in afghanistan what is our goal there? i will put it to you our goal as threefold. they are all political. one is to provide security. second is to help them develop
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good governments. and third to stimulate the economy. okay. so let's look at each one in turn. in terms of security, i believe the surge will improve security and, perhaps, it may even temporarily actually prevent a civil war within afghanistan. in terms of good governance, well, and what i mean by good governance? good governance that is a provision of administration to provide justice. something the taliban fairly well, actually, which is why it had some popularity and now people reminisce with about that despite what peter says. the only thing they don't like the taliban, that they did like the fairness and the lack of corruption.
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fair dispute resolution and defeat the corruption and nepotism that you find that is paralyzing any local initiative. unfortunately for us, this is up to the afghans to do. we, you know, we cannot impose our institution from the top. from my own experience with the afghan, and i was in contact very intensively with them day-to-day for three years, you realize the limits of your power with them. you can really control them. you can -- and you know, i had a lot of cash to really give them so you can see the limits of your influence on the afghans. so you can, you know, in a sense push them gently in that goal. and so we have to be very
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cognizant of our own limitations of what we can do because this is a very much an afghan issue. third, we need to stimulate their economy. that means they have to develop jobs and a sense of purpose. and this is dependent on good leadership, which, of course, is absent. their leader has little legitimacy because of the disaster of the election. and investment, which we actually can provide. so this actually led me to go back and review what soviet policy was in afghanistan for ten years. this has been bad-mouthed so far in this panel. i was on the other side. i wasn't intimately involved in running the war against the soviets for three years. so don't have to underestimate your enemy. the whole point i'm trying to put to you is we should not repeat their mistakes. we should learn from their mistakes.
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and what did the soviets have? the soviets had an advantage. they were dealing with a less-corrupt afghan government and they were dealing with actually fairly strong. actually a fairly effective president and non-corrupt. and they did not have any pressure from domestic protests because they basically hid the body bags. they did not tell the population how many people lost during the war until after the war. they were very careful about that. nobody could mention afghanistan. they actually developed a fairly efficient and effective counter insurgency doctrine after 1986. they learned from their mistakes. and what they did is exactly what we are suggesting right
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now, which, to me, was a surprise because it was fairly sophisticated. they were preaching national reconciliation and achieved quite a bit of success with it. they withdrew from the countryside, consolidating the cities, and provided security in the cities and the roadways for most of the time they were there. i know because i was very frustrated trying to disrupt that security from my side. they encourage armed local militias in order to kind of frustrate me and my colleagues, the mujahideen at the time. there were pretty good. they also had a fairly decent administration for justice, and they built roads. they built schools.
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they built factories. they built hospitals. that sounds really familiar. well, what did that give them? that give them a decent interval of three years from the time that they withdrew to the time when najibullah fell. lasted as long as the money and the support flow from the soviet union. najibullah fell within months afterwards. how about the international coalition? well, we have some advantage for the soviets. the war was very unpopular with the soviets. we have professional soldiers, and the morale is much higher than the soviet army. we don't have that a superpower on the other side supporting the resistance. there is no stingers. can you imagine what would happen right now if the taliban
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had stingers to shoot down our helicopters? it would be a disaster. and we have not killed as many civilians as the soviets did. they probably killed close to a million people, which, you know, earned them tremendous, tremendous inpopularity, as pointed out by peter. so what is going to happen in 18 months? well, in 18 months we are applied to withdraw mostly by 2012 because of the election, secondary to the war within the beltway. we will increase security in afghanistan, but the question mark is will that security be enough to allow the afghans to take responsibility for the future and develop their own country? that is really the key issue. i'm fairly pessimistic because it depends karzai lacks legitimacy, and he's unpopular in this country.
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so this really will depend on achieving security, which i think is achievable, good governance, which is a big question mark, and of course, with good governance comes, you know, with our own money investment for jobs, jobs, jobs. without jobs, jobs, jobs afghanistan will not be a positive scenario in the future. but saying that, i must conclude by pointing out that this is not going to affect our domestic national security. as we see with the last three plots the
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[inaudible conversations] >> peter has to leave at 11:00, so he should take the first few questions. there is a microphone in the back of the room for anyone who would like to ask a question. [inaudible conversations] >> my name is mustafa malik. i work some 30 years as a journalist in the united states. i retired two years ago. my question is for peter bergen
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specifically. what i hear now in this seminar and the last few is exactly what i was hearing before the last war. and the premise was that we will be able to. we will have democracy. now it is an islamic system. there is -- have you really tested the hypothesis somewhere that we are not the soviets, afghan people love us. and one last point i want to make. i am told that the other speaker
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was comparing afghanistan, our presence in afghanistan to soviet presence in afghanistan. they were doing is exact same thing that we are trying to do. i would just mention that i was born in india. the british were doing the same thing. built roads, schools. the blessings of western civilization. >> what's the question? >> my question is, are we not doing the same thing as our colonial imperial power did and failed believing their own premise? i visited twice pakistan over the last three years. i exactly heard them say this is the same jihad against foreigners that we fought in the
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1980's now against americans. >> okay. thank you, mustafa. we have it. are we making the same mistakes as the soviets? are we making the same mistake we made in iraq in 2003? i think that was the question. well, you know the difference within the soviet occupation and the american -- and by the way, 42 other countries are involved in the effort in afghanistan, it's like night and day. it is important to remember that one and a half billion afghans were killed by the soviets, 10% of the population. 5 million of them became refugees. the largest refugee population in history. the soviets also left the most heavily mined country in the world. to compare this to what is happening today is really, i'm afraid, not very good history. on the issue of, is this similar
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to what we were doing in iraq in 2003, i think a more relevant question is what are the similarities to what we were when the surge was of great interest to policymakers and the rebels in the country. i think about the research. the iraq surge was just doubling down on a bad debt. part of the reason i opposed was a lack of knowledge. the iraq surge went into probably one of the nastiest civil wars in recent modern history. the ministry of the interior at the time was actually a shii death squad. now matter how bad the afghan situation right now it is not involved in a major civil war for is the government essentially a sectarian entity as the government of iraq was at the time. so actually the surge is going into a much better situation than existed in iraq. and just addressing the american
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domestic, americans don't care -- let me rephrase that. americans are much more casualty averse than most people suspect. there is very good academic data. what americans don't like is losing. when they're losing in iraq the war was very unpopular. it is almost a non-issue now and is seems to be someone stabilizing. so if the surge, as mark says, brings more security and americans feel like progress has been made, the casualties that come with that are going to be dealt with in a way that politically they will be handled. you may recall the worst months of the war in iraq were six months after the surge were 120 americans were being killed every month. as the situation stabilized the american domestic political scene changed. i think you will see the same thing with afghanistan. >> hi. i am susan cornwell.
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this is a question for bruce riedel. >> can you direct your questions to peter. >> go ahead. >> it is for everyone, but especially -- are you concerned that, it is for anyone who wants to comment on it frankly. are you concerned that this recent focus on yemen will result in dwindling support for the one afghanistan, especially here on capitol hill. i would also be interested to hear how you, sort of, assess this threat from yemen, and what you think is some kind of direct u.s. military intervention t hinkable there? >> i'll answer the last one. anyone who wants to put a direct u.s. military intervention into yemen needs to have their head examined. [laughter] we have got enough on our plate
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as it is. we don't need a third war in the middle east. we have enough on our plate. we don't need a third war in the middle east. the experience of foreign armies in yemen, most recently the egyptians, got to be one that cautions anyone who thinks there is a made in america solution to the problem of the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. outside in the arabian peninsula has become a more powerful and more dangerous foe in the last year as the direction of osama bin laden. the al qaeda cells in saudia arabia which have been badly repressed, effectively repressed by the saudis merged with the al qaeda cells in yemen. it proved to be quite a smart strategic move. they seem to have benefited from the interaction between the two.
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they seem to have found a very clever bomb maker. he may have failed on his two attempts. one on the deputy administrator of interior last august, and the second on the flight from amsterdam to detroit. but i would bet on him failing every time. if that bomb had gone off properly on that flight to detroit we would have had a catastrophic incident. the president quite rightly put it the other day, we dodged a bullet. i think in the side of his own head he knows something even more important. he dodged a catastrophic bullet. we will have to apply to yemen in a reasonable amount of effort to try to assist a very weak partner, allah, to focus on the outside in the arabian peninsula. we still have no illusions about his partner.
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his enthusiasm for the mission is not limited. he has a lot else on his plate. if we give him the support, if we provide the intelligence support can be brought under control. the larger question was we should they now be diverted from pakistan to yemen? i don't think so. mark and i disagree on some of the particular. i think we come down on the same bottom-line. the most dangerous threats over the last several years have all originated out of pakistan. certainly the most dangerous threat of them all, the failed attempt in august of 2006 to down multiple airliners over the atlantic was based in pakistan. barack obama inherited a reality that we were at war in afghanistan. we don't have a time machine. we can't go back and redo this war the right way. we are in it now.
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what happens in that war will have a tremendous impact across borders, which is the far more important strategic prize in this conflict. >> from voice of america. i have a question for peter bergen. as we heard in this meeting and the media always commented that most of the pashtun areas, they don't have security. they don't get reconstruction. and little economic. and also i read in one of the reports last year from one of the provinces only one person went to kabul. so if the situation continues this will be in the benefit of taliban or al qaeda. what can we do to transform, to separate mainly pashtuns who
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feel that they are marginalized in the government and include them in this process of security and economic development and good government? thank you. >> one thing that afghanistan lacks is effective pashtun political parties. right now you're a stuck between a choice between karzai and the taliban. my understanding is that hamid karzai has been -- this is not something is. perhaps, in the next five years you will have pashtun political parties that emerge that represent an alternative that isn't necessarily the taliban. obviously the questioner is complete right. pashtuns feel excluded from the benefits, central benefits of the afghan national policy, but i do not think the most important good we can deliver is security.
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let me give you one benchmark that is a useful one that is very observable in the next 18 months. was the most dangerous road between baghdad city airport and baghdad. very likely to be killed if you drove down it. the fact that was the most dangerous for in the world said everything you needed to know about iraq. the kabul to kandahar, it went seven hours in 2005 and 2006. if anybody today you'd be signing your own death warrant. this is the most important for a politically and economically. it would be very observable in the next 18 months of it returned to a road that actually could be used. that would be a sign of real progress. that is the kind of thing that most pashtuns want. that road connects the pashtun capital to the national capitol.
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that is the sort of thing in the new surge will deliver. that is something we can. >> do you mind if i ask you a quick question? peter, before you leave, how would you respond to the -- how would you respond to vital u.s. interest in afghanistan when it general johnson said there are probably only 100 al qaeda members there? in response to what mark was arguing. >> well, there 200 members of al qaeda on 9/11. so small numbers of people can effect history very greatly. i would make two points. talking about afghanistan without talking about pakistan is like pakistan without talking with israel or vice versa.
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lashkar-e-taiba doesn't recognize the border. al qaeda doesn't recognize the border. the border doesn't exist. and so to talk about afghanistan without reference to the fact that all these groups are in pakistan and headquartered there and go back and forth all the time is not right. you know, we cannot be -- the 82nd airborne or the 10th mounted is not about to invade pakistan. that's not going to happen unless there is a major attack. however, given that fact, what we are doing is a counter sanctuary, so that they don't also take over afghanistan. we have already run this videotape once before. that's why we're trying to do. ..
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>> with the northwest flight have been a 9/11 style event? are wedded to have been like pan am 103. it's an interesting question. i don't think it looks like pan am 103. i think it looks bigger. >> jeff, thank you for waiting.
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>> for many years from this podium, they will assize bush-cheney administration for practicing what he called diplomacy free foreign policy. so i'd like to ask about the diplomatic dimension, and perhaps some other opportunities that may present themselves in this situation. number one, a critical aspect of afghanistan is obviously the fact that it's been historically a surrogate war between pakistan and india, that support for al qaeda, taliban and these elements from within the isi and other in pakistan is all oriented towards the fact that india is seen as exploiting afghanistan as a rear flank and the concept between india and pakistan. and yet, it seems that the indian government in a recent period has recognized that there's a shift in pakistan, and that the attacks that are israer
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larger military action against iran over the nuke issue? thank you. >> let me take a stab at that.
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you're absolutely right, a diplomatic dimension to this is absolutely critical. i think that the strategy that president outlined in march put that at the top of the agenda. i know we've spent a lot of time talking about the counterinsurgency part. and for good reason. is the most expensive part. it's the part where body bags come home. but i firmly believe the regional diplomatic part of it is much more important to the long-term chances of stabilizing afghanistan and even more importantly, pakistan. if you look at the travels of richard holbrooke, you'll see he has been on the case. he's at least going around and making the effort. how far he succeeded, i think it's too early to tell. if you will recall, just a year ago, the president spoke inadvertently to time magazine, i think it was time, about the importance of working the pakistani indian dimension. i think he learned an important lesson from that. you can't talk about that
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dimension, but it doesn't distract from the fact that it is absolutely vitally important that if we want to change pakistani behavior, we have to do with the thing that drives pakistani behavior. and that india. that got a whole lot more trouble, more difficult, 13 months ago in mumbai when they probably with the assistance of al qaeda carried out that attack. why did they do that? precisely to make it more difficult to get a reduction in tensions between pakistan and india. the jihadists who we are fighting have understood from the beginning of this conflict that if you want to take -- if you want to take the heat off of them in pakistan, heat up the border between india and pakistan. that's why after we drove al qaeda and the taliban out of afghanistan in 2001, what do they do? they attacked the indian parliament. it was a brilliant tactical move that resulted in strategic space for them.
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in order to try to improve relations between pakistan and india, we have to do something that americans diplomacy is not good at. not talk about it, operate under the radar screen, and supportive of others, not try to have the stage all to ourselves. i'm not sure i'm there to diplomacy can do it, frankly. i don't think it's in our genes, but that's what we need to do. is the administration working on that, as i said at the beginning, i'm not a spokesman for the administration, but i would point you to one back. first, state visit dinner of this administration was with the indian leadership. because i think this administration understands exactly how important that is. now i realize most of you don't realize that that steak dinner included indians, because we have become obsessed with a couple from west virginia who showed up at the dinner, but fortunately in india, they do understand it was about the
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importance of the u.s. indian relationship. is it impossible? no, i don't think it's impossible. one of the most important journalistic articles i would say this last year, steve cole pointed out in "the new yorker" in an article about the back channel, that india and pakistan have actually come along way over the last several years in finding the bases for solution to their long-standing problems. they didn't find it. they have come a long way towards finding a. american diplomacy should have as its objective try to help indians and pakistanis get back to that back channel and to try to put this back on track. i won't say very much about russia, other than to say i think the amount of support we've gotten from the russians is not quite as high as you had hoped that we'd gotten from the russians so far. the chinese, i will unabashedly push the newspaper that the brookings institution is putting out this week on our website on
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how the united states and china should work together in order to try to improve the stability of pakistan. if pakistanis regard us as the unreliable ally, that's not usually the terminology they use, it's a little more colorful than that but i won't use it in this mixed audience. they regard china as the reliable ally. the all weather friends. we need to get the chinese involved in this in a big way. and on iran, you're absolutely right. if we enter in to a period of confrontation with iran now, the iranians will look for ways to hurt us. and the easiest way for the iranians to hurt us right now is obama's war right next door. the most prospers efficient and effective part of afghanistan today is around the city of karachi. because the iranians provide the
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electricity, the economic develop and help provide the security. they could change that overnight. if they wanted to. and as we think about how we go forward with iran, which first to admit, is a very serious national security problem for us, we have to think of it in this regional dimension. and have -- what we do with iran will affect the war in afghanistan. >> do you want to comment on the message was actually, no. i can't think of anything i would add. >> just to add a little extra dimension, namely the indian chinese dimension, which because since the chinese allied with pakistan and you have to look at it through the indian chinese connection as well. that of course complicates it even further. >> just one little point. i think on russia, bruce, russia
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promised us thousands of lives per year to deliver equipment, equipment for troops in afghanistan. as of november i think that permitted one. so there are 999 short, at least. >> frank anderson talked a bit about contractors, and just wanted to throw this question out to anyone. what do you think companies like blackwater, what role would they be playing in afghanistan? what are your thoughts on that? >> there was a bad ankle, but are you asking me about what role blackwater is playing in afghanistan? >> what role do you think, organizations like blackwater, what role do you feel like they will be playing in afghanistan?
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>> i think that one of our serious dysfunctions is that we organize ourselves in such away that what what our essential state functions are now performed by businesses. i can't think of any way that it makes sense, or that a nation should justify that its embassy in afghanistan, its embassies all around the world, are protected by businessmen. rather than a marine security guard when you approach the embassy in kabul, you go through a layer of afghan police. that's comforting. then a group i'm not a blackwater, but another american security company. and then you can turn left, and i don't even know which contractor covers the gate of the entity, or you can turn
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right into the international security in afghanistan. where you first go through another afghan commercial -- private security company, and then you're confronted by gates and barriers manned by the macedonians. it's just -- there's no way that we should have allowed ourselves to be deployed where we have to have businessmen performing essential state functions. i can't think of any, any other thing to say. and it's not just security, it's not just blackwater. it's -- be wrong for me to list individual companies, we have
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stopped doing the business of government. you know, government is now performed by businesses and i don't know how many more times it costs to have government function performed by businessmen, but i know it's at least two or three. >> do you see there will be an increase in this type of involvement? or do you see there will be an increase in this type of involvement, or will it be the same or will it be different than what we did in iraq? >> fixing this would require revolutionary change. we have, over the last 30 or 40 years, privatize function after function after functions. with the idea, it was once an ideological view from one political party, that business is essentially more efficient than government. looking at those around the room who have been in government and then in business, and my
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personal expenses, it just doesn't play out. bureaucracy is inefficient. you know, if you get 50 people in a business, it's going to become inefficient. because you've got businesses. it's not going to be more or less efficient than 50 people and the government. we have increasingly chosen not to employ government people, and i suppose it makes sense, that you privatize the snowplowing function in the city of washington. i think it makes less sense that you privatize the analysis of intelligence. i think it is obscene that you privatize the application of violence. >> if i could just add, i fully
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agree with everything frank has said. the irony is, as we outsource all of these government functions, particularly in the intelligence community, we just built a larger and larger intelligence community bureaucracy with more and more layers of review, more and more people who are reading contracts every day. and overseeing contractors are rather than doing their jobs. we now have more institutions in the intelligence community than we've ever had before. the best example of that, look at the picture of the president meeting with his intelligence, so-called intelligence advisers in the white house two days ago. how many people were in that room? who's the sheriff? we've got a huge posse of bureaucrats. who's in charge? >> my name is olli, and i'm working in the middle east and north africa. i would like, since i am here in the middle east policy council
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and good number of people who really intelligence policymaking, in the larger picture, and the macro picture of the nazi's relationship with the muslim world, aren't we really in a way becoming hostage to two smaller groups, and outside in the muslim world come al qaeda does not represent even one, thousand or half a thousand of the one point half billion muslims. and in the united states, we have very strong group which really influence the policy of the nine states that creates problems for us in the middle east and other places. as policymakers, where is our national interest and who is guarding it lacks many questions are in the muslim street when i go there as an american. but as an american muslim. and icy they may accept me as, you know, brother in faith
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sometimes but the lashing as an american for our policies, everywhere from nigeria, sudan and other places. so my question to you, you know, this good gathering, how can we get out of this mess? and where can we build a relationship that will protect the vital interests of our society here, without sacrificing a good relationship with the larger scope of the muslim world. >> it is an ideological question about whether or not terrorism should be addressed as a crime or a geopolitical military issue. it's unpopular, or it has been.
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it's becoming less unpopular to recognize it as a crime. not -- the way that you have to do with terrorism is the way you have to deal with murder and narcotics, and bank fraud. in our system, if you want to prove a crime, you have to prove motive, means, and opportunity. if you want to prevent a crime, you need to figure out a way to attack motive, means, and opportunity. we have selected to go to war in at least one case, and arguably we continued in war in ways and another. that has had very limited effect
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on the terrorist means. we've done a pretty good job, and we've certainly invested a lot, and reducing opportunity. al qaeda and other terrorists are clever, and they've done a fine job, from their point of view, of overcoming barriers. but we are a much more secure nation. it's a much more secure world. it's tougher to be a terrorist now than it was before. we've reduced opportunity. it's not soft. it's not surrendering to the enemy to recognize that we have to address motivation. to the extent that terrorists are motivated to act against us by our policies, we have to question whether or not the policies are sufficiently
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important or positive value to us, that we opt not to adjust. if they are, we fight, you know, you addressed the terrorist by attacking it means. people who want the second president bush made a good point. there are some people in the world who are angry with us because of what we do. there are others who hate us because of what we are. those who are angriest with us because of what we do, we have to make a choice. do we adopt policies that respond to their anger? or do we decide that our policies are important enough to us that we're going to persist in them, and then deal with their anger through reducing means and opportunity. to that limited number of people, those who are associated with al qaeda and others, they
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are not angry with us because of what we do. no matter what they say. you know, they hate us because of what we are. and it isn't that we are democratic. it's just that we are what we are. you know, but we are richer, we are more comfortable, we are more powerful, we are loud and brash. and therefore, they want to kill us. our only opportunity with those people is to hunt them down and kill them. with everybody else, i think there are opportunities to improve our position with them and with us addressing motivation, what are our policies, means, cut down their ability to maintain finance, reduce their safe havens. reduce the personnel come and certainly opportunity apply security across our infrastructure and our society. >> bruce and mark, could you comment on that? do you think that if we were --
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can we take their arguments away from them? if we want to help a palestinian state come into being, if we were to have a lighter military footprint in the persian gulf, that over the horizon capability, if we address the grievances they articulate, would that make a difference or not? >> i think it would decrease the probability of terrorist act is not going to take them away. there will always be not content. so don't be too naïve, that we are going to really put an end to it that terrorism is here to stay. not just this type of mujahideen terabit it'll be ecological terrorism. it was terrorism for years ago. there's always malcontent. we're never going to leave. utopia where everybody is happy. but that being said, it's also,
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in a sense, aggravated by what i call the first war within washington, where people know this issue for naked political ambition. because it happens to be very popular with voters. it's the same thing as being tough on crime. i agree with frank dierker iq terrorism as crime as well. but you know, everybody is kind of rushing to say i'm tougher than my opponent on crime. because it is very popular. and so the domestic agenda will always drive the foreign agenda. and so if you have foreigners who, stupidly, listen to what we say, they are going to be upset because what we say, i would target argue it is a domestic audience. and that's going to always resonate domestically, but of
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course, it's going to really put us at a disadvantage of broad. >> my answer to question is yes, it would make a great deal of difference. if the united states looks at the motivations and the dynamics, that lie at the heart of the appeal of al qaeda in the islamic world, the arab-israeli conflict, the sense of alienation over what happens in palestine, has always been one of al qaeda's strongest recruiting mechanisms. if you look at the lives of the leaders of al qaeda, osama bin laden, and especially auzere, it's all about the israeli arab confit. bear in mind something heller. there in state come in here i think we're in the same place, frank, mark and i comment is not a just and lasting peace.
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there in the state is the elimination of israel. we're never going to convince them through our actions to change. , but we can affect in which they recruit and operate. i suspect in the next day or so we are going to see a martyrdom video tape or a martyrdom will of some sort from the man who attacked, and i suspect that he will talk a lot about the zionist crusader alliance and who he was fighting. we should not succumb to the argument that trying to take away these motives is somehow appeasing the enemy. the arabs israeli conflict has become a threat to the national security of the united states of america, and we must recognize it as a threat to the national security interests of the united
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states of america. the president made a very good start in cairo. the devil is in the details. i think i can say with some authority, that trying to get israelis and palestinians to agree on anything is a lot harder to do in the real world than it is to do in the think tank world. but that doesn't diminish the absolute importance of the administration pursuing this. countering the narrative and ideology of al qaeda has to deal with the issues that al qaeda says it self are the essence of its appeal. talking about it is a good first step. following through is absolutely imperative. >> bruce, i agree 100 percent with what you said. >> i am robin walker.
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bruce, you mentioned this briefly but since we have decades of experience you with the cia out that i would ask you guys for your analysis of the bonding. what does it mean that we were taken by jordanian double or triple agent? what does it mean that two of the people killed were blackwater employees, or former blackwater employees? just your analysis on that, please. >> well, my two colleagues that more time on the dark side of the cia than i did. so i may be the least qualified to discuss this. first of all, we don't know what happened yet. we have various, scanty press reports. but let's assume it was some kind of triple, double agent or whatever he is, a quadruple agent. to me, one of the most interesting things is what was it that he was bringing to the table? as far as we can tell from the press accounts, and i stress, we
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only have press accounts that we don't really know what happened. he was bringing to the table some really big bait. the location specifics on where we would find high-value target, number two. we haven't had that in eight years. that was huge bait. now, i'm not going to comment about the wisdom of the tradecraft of the people involved are. i think they paid the ultimate price for whatever mistakes they made. but i can understand that if that was indeed the bait, this was a big, big operation. >> i guess i can only add a little, but confirm a law to what bruce has said. like bruce, i only know what's been in the press. and i'm actually comforted that
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the leaks on past events have not been repeated. we don't know everybody that was killed. but things that came out indicate that this was a double or triple operation, and as bruce said, accomplishing that is difficult. one of the things that you have to do in a double agent operation, which is one in which you sent someone pretending to be a source into your enemy so that that person can either act or learn enough to be to your interests by giving you more information than you give up. but you've got to give up information. it's called feedstock. you have to give up intelligence. this operative or person, if the
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press is to be believed, gave up a lot over time. and develop confidence on the part of the cia, or perhaps it was the jordanian service that was handling it, a member of the jordanian royalty on it, tragically among the dead. . .
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>> i once had a boss scream no one should be the chief of station for the first time. it could have very well been experience, it could have been mistakes. i don't think other than the subject as we beat it to death so far means much that the people were killed were blackwater. they should have been government employees. they weren't. what is means is that in this war if we want to get time on zawahiri and someone is bringing us information that sacrifices, and i almost certainly did other targets into to get to this target, we might fall for that one again. >> let me add something to
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this. you know, i'm not a journalist. and, therefore, i don't usually comment on recent events. because it turns out, in my experience, that as the investigation unfolding with all of the hysteria happens to be wrong. and so let's not judge immediately what happened when you call it a double or triple agent or something that -- let's look at the facts on this one. this is a guy who had the reputation on the internet, was a very reluctant of the jordannians who was kind of sent reluctantly to the area in order to penetrate al qaeda. i don't think of him as a double agent so far. i think of him as a very reluctant recruit who probably
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fessed up to al qaeda when he met with them to say, look, we can turn this around. and he might have just been sent back. this is really a field operation from the start, it could be. so let's wait a little bit before we label it a double, triple, sophistication and so on. i think simple explanation is always the best. even in the intelligence world. let's not prejudge this and wait until the investigation unfold. >> megan from cna, my question is regarding strategic communication. peter bergen at the beginning talking about public opinion and rho the -- how the coalition has popular. and our words and actions
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haven't matched. a couple of panelist talking about how the soviets tried to build schools and hospitals, but then they completely alienate the population by flattening a village if they acted on him. similarly in afghanistan, we've had a hard time working our words and deeds. but the insurgents has been were good at exploiting civilian casualties and expectations. and i'm just wondering how important you think strategic communication is in afghanistan, and what you think we might be able to do better? thank you. >> well, strategy you can -- streakic -- strategic communication is always second to bull lets. if you kill a family members i
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don't really care how good your strategic communication is. it's about action. and how you spin that action. and in a sense, it can't really come from us. it really has to come from local discussions by afghans about what we have done or not done. on the positive side, we have not kills as many people as soviets did by 1.5 million estimate during the tenure there. we have done far less damage. therefore, we're not at the low point of the soviet's war when they decided counterinsurgency. but, you know, this whole notion about strategic communication is always secondary to the facts under ground. and especially the images on television. and right now in afghanistan,
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television is a very competitive business. and it allows all kinds of rumors and plots and all kinds of nonsense to be shown on tv. that's going to trump whatever we're going to do. so it's a very hard task, whoever is doing that, i think it's almost an impossible task. but the fact on the ground always trump whatever you say. >> yes? >> again, from vice of america, president obama when he delivered the speak about the strategy -- youth strategy in afghanistan. he said that youth had the partnership with pakistan and we will not leave alone our partners. many afghan analyst, or some of them at least, they fear that
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after 18 months the situation of '90s when the soviet soviet union left, to be left alone to its neighbors. what do you think about that? >> i think if you look at what the president said at west pointe and how he and his advisers have qualified that since, mid 2011 is not the point at which 140,000 nato soldiers magically disappear from afghanistan and start coming home. it's the point at which we aspire that we will begin what i think will be a very slow, very small drawdown. here i think marc and i disagree. i don't think the politics of this in the united states are going to force this administration to draw down
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substantially before 2012. one thing i think is certain, we certainly will not have achieved lasting security change, if that's the case. what i do think is this, i think that by mid 2011, we will have a pretty good idea whether or not this strategy, the mcchrystal strategy, the obama strategy, has a chance of succeeding. if by the middle of 2011, which will be 12 months after we've gotten all of the forces or at least most of the forces in the theater, we've ramped up civilian advisers to around 1,000 or so at beginning of 2009 we've begun working regional diplomacy. if by mid 2011 we don't see any sign of change, then we've learned something. the patient was dead. president obama inherited a dead patient on the table. and we cannot rebuild the avenue
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-- afghan state. if that's the case, we're in a difficult situation. there's no simple, let's say let's all come home. pretend it's not a problem. more will probably not be the answer. staying on indefinitely will not be the answer. and quitting will not be the answer. one thing i can say for sure is i sure hope president obama doesn't ask fe more another strategic review at that time. >> let me make a small comment. the soviets withdrew in nine months. they lived next door. that was a tremendous, tremendous logistic feat on there part to be able to do that. you don't know the difficulty involved in withdrawing 100,000 people that they had. and they were again next door. if you look at logistics to
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afghanistan by a large military as opposed to insurgents, you realize the two major roads. one is to the north and the orr the jilalabad. you just need to hit the first car and the lashkar. and those guys get stuck. there's no side roads. to think that we can withdraw rapidly is complete nonsense. >> hello, i'm with the "washington quarterly" at cis. every since obama has come into office and his speech on
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november 1 about the troop surge, comparisons have been drawn with vietnam. though we heard the comparison with the soviet invasion, i was just wondering what all of your views were on vietnam, and whether they are comparable or what ways they may not be? >> wow. i think we'll defer to frank who was old enough -- [laughter] >> to do that. but, you know, in a sense, the war in vietnam was fought against. we withdrew because of domestic reasons. not so much what happened in vietnam. the soviets also the same thing. they did not lose a single encounter to the afghan jihad while they were there for almost ten years. major encounter. in vietnam, we didn't really lose any major encounter to the
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north vietnamese. the war will be fought within washington. we're fighting two wars. you have to really look at both of them together. >> there's a -- i think there's a very important disof text between vietnam and afghanistan. vietnam was bipolar. you know, the country was either inform support of what had been the republican of vietnam and alliance with the united states or was in support of the legacy of min. i think there was a reluctant reliance with the soviet block. they were united with -- they became united around an
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anti-colonial ideology. they were willing to take -- they were disciplined enough to take enormous losses. and in the end, they were able to put together a conventional force. we were never defeated by the vietcong. they drove tanks in. i don't dot math on how many partners there were. and i would argue that what's going to happen -- i might take issue with marc on this. it might depend on as much as what happens in afghanistan as it does on what happens in washington. afghans in their multiplicity of
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institutions and associations and relationships really want what almost anyone wants. that is security and the opportunity to protect and grow one's family. we're in trouble in the south of the country right now. that's security is more provided in taliban areas than it is in those that are friendly to the government. that's not the case throughout the rest of the country. and the afghan government right now is not the friend of most villager in southern afghanistan. it's not the enemy, it's just this force that has organizized the top-down corruption. you know? local officials are paid for
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their position, and there's a flow upward of resource that is are extracted from the people to corrupt politicians in -- well, farther up the stream. than doesn't -- that doesn't have to continue. khzaei -- karzai was a great hope. everyone no knows him respected him. he might change his mind. the pressures that led him to permit and maybe support this corrupt structure could be reversed over time. the people up and down that structure might change their mind. the parliament is -- has stood up against his nominations. who's knows who's going to
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happen up and down that road. if we succeed in something that we can do, peter has pointed out the crucial important to the kandahar road. than doesn't be impossible to secure that. that changes the economic nature of southern afghanistan. it could get better. >> if i could just add one point. there's no question that the ghost of vietnam haunts this administration. i can tell you from being in it for 60 days. the ghost of what happened to lyndon johnson walks the corridors of this white house, it walks the corridors of this building every day. it's a mistake. we got to get over it. we got to stop fighting the vietnam war. i don't know whether we could have won or not, but it is not
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relevant to afghanistan. as marc pointed out earlier, there is no superpower supporting the taliban. there are no stingers going to come to the taliban. there's not soviet union and communist china behind the taliban. equally, afghanistan is not iraq. let's not refight the surge arguments of 2007 and 2008 over in afghanistan. general petraeus is the first to say, the lessons of iraq are not going to be applicable to afghanistan. these are two fundamentally different countries. i know all of asia looks like one big thing to america, but we have to be a little bit more sophisticated, yemen, somalia, afghanistan, iraq, vietnam, are not the same exact problem.
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as frank very wisely told us at the beginning, we need expertise at the intimacy of the problem. >> let me add to that. you know, when i talked to officials -- real officials in washington here. i'm always amazed by their sophistication of their understanding of the issue. that does not trickle down to the newspapers. that does not trickle down to msnbc, that doesn't trickle down to fox news. unfortunately, people vote fox news and msnbc. here you have the economy of people that are no better, but can't really say much on tv which is so polarized. and i completely agree with bruce. afghanistan is not vietnam. it's completely irrelevant to vietnam. but the news media is making it
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so. >> well, as we get a little closer to the end of this session, let me come back to a more general question, bruce, you were quoted at the newspaper maybe in september saying that a successful counterinsurgency strategy required a partner who's viewed as legitimate. and you have said that, you know, it's a illegitimate government. and yet you also for quoted in the paper as saying the administration should give mcchrystal what he wanted. now can you explain your thinking about why you think counterinsurgency is necessary and why the more limited
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counterterrorist strategy of going after terrorist leaders with special forces is not going to be sufficient? >> certainly. it's -- i'm not the only person who has said the successful counterinsurgency requires a partner. i think that's kind of the essence of the whole theory of counterinsurge -- counterinsurgency. the national community's handling of the afghanistan presidential election was a major, major setback for us. i'll go further. we acted throughout the whole summer around this election like a deer in the headlights. we could see a problem in front of us, we saw it roars down the highway. it slammed into us, and we seemed to just stand there. that is a major mistake.
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and it is not clear to me that we can recover from it. i think that there is a possibility to recover from it. because i don't think we could vilify and demonize president karzai. his opportunity to fork deals in administration is much more sophisticated than ours. his opportunity to reach out to his opponents is much more sophisticated than ours. he has some very, very good people in his cabinet. fortunately, the parliament was small enough to recognize those people and to put them back into office. but trying to get an effective afghanistan partner is going to be very hard. we have set ourself back by the handling of the afghanistan presidential election. the reason i don't think the so-called counterterrorism light strategy works is because i think it's based on a false
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premise. that you can encourage afghans and pakistanis to give you the kind of critical human intelligence that you need for the drones to work when you don't provide them with any security or any incentive to work with you. my colleagues here have spent a lot more times in running assets than i have. but i don't see how we're going to persuade someone to go out there and risk his life if the message you sending him is i'm not going to be here when you come back. but i'll leave you a cell phone. and you call me with the targets. counterterrorism light is a fantasy strategy. it says more to tom clancy novels than to reality on the battlefield. look at the coast operation. i don't know exactly what the people in that forward operating base were doing. but i think you can surmise one
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thing. they were the eyes and ears of the human intelligence collection program that was working to make the drones succeed. if you adopt the light approach, you don't have forward-operating basis. so where are you going to be meeting with your assets? where are you going to be developing that human intelligence? last point about it, if we adopt the approach that we're in afghanistan and pakistan to stay whack-a-mole with terrorist, why the are afghanistan and pakistani government say come on in. we'd love to have you here. you're doing nothing for me. it's all for you. it doesn't make any sense. by the way, our 44 partners in isaf are going out the door.
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don't stand in the doorway, you are going to get hit by it as they evolve through it. >> just one quick question. all of us here, you panelist, emphasize the question of some democracy in pakistan, afghanistan. now, do you realize the perspective from the other side? that our colonial powers want democrattive governments. the colonial power of israel. that on the other hand, the message to them really doesn't flow from democracy which to us the tribal leadership and ethnicity and religion. so hamid karzai maybe corrupt or
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he may be a saint. it's not our association with him, telling his legitimacy in the eyes of the people, just as in pakistan. he was elected by the majority. he is now 19% approval rating. it is because of his allowing the tax. are we not going to let their institutions, their leadership, maybe we have to talk with mullah omar? >> does anyone want to take that? >> i speak to it for a second in pakistan. you're absolutely right. president's popularity, not
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anything to do with mr. 10% himself has gone through the roof. you will probably see the end of the zardari government. each time we have ended up pretty unhappy with the outcome. and the pakistani people have ended up pretty unhappy with the outcome. we've talked a lot about polling. and i'm skeptical about polling in illiterate societies as i think anyone is. but there is interesting polling in pakistan that says despite the fact that the country now has an anemic economy, despite the fact that the violence is unprecedented levels, the overwhelming majority of pakistan, something around 85% say they do not want to have
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another military dictatorship. >> i think we have time for one more question if anyone has one. >> given the composition of the panel, i can't resist asking for your assessment of the after-evaluation of the amsterdam to detroit incident. obviously, most of us are sophisticated enough to know that success stories all have to be kept secret. failures get magnified. have we made progress in terms of the standing up of the structures to prevent these kinds of incident since the restructuring after 9/11? i mean. >> well, this is a very interesting question. everything worked.
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but the system failed. that's because the system is no good. the father of omar went to our embassy and told us he thought his son was a terrorist. he was afraid of that. the folks, my understanding, they wrote back and said this guy may be a terrorist. the guys back home said, oh, okay. so we're going to put him in our database. and we did. everybody was going the bureaucratic thing. but the system doesn't really work. because it only works if you have inquisitive people back
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here. this is kind of interesting. let's see that. it don't have that initiative. everybody is basically doing cya work. you do this. you do that. and it's nobody responsibility. i don't think the system works. i think we're going to see a reevaluation of that system very soon


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